Space: April 12, 2002


The European Union and European Space Agency have agreed to launch the Galileo satellite navigation system, their version of the American GPS system, with a $1 billion development program. They want to be interoperable with GPS. The primary European concern is that the US (which owns GPS) could suddenly decide to change or downgrade the GPS signals, leaving Europe without its benefits. The EU and ESA plan to seek investors to fund the $2.5 billion it will take to launch their network of satellites, to be ready by 2008. The Europeans want to get their system operational before the US GPS3 system in 2009-2011 so they can sell special receivers for their signals. --Stephen V Cole


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